NYC pension funds take next step in divesting funds from fossil fuels

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and trustees of some of the city’s biggest retirement systems on Thursday issued a request for information to ensure the city’s divestment from fossil fuels is conducted in an orderly and responsible way, consistent with their fiduciary obligations.

In January, the mayor, comptroller and the trustees of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) announced a goal to divest city funds from fossil fuels within five years. The city also filed a lawsuit against the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming.

NYCERS, TRS, and BERS represent 70% of the total assets of the city’s $193 billion pension funds.
"New York City is standing strong for our planet and pensioners with this next step towards divestment,” de Blasio said. “The future is about clean energy and cleaner air as we continue fighting climate change. I thank Comptroller Stringer and Trustees for their leadership as we take important steps towards divesting from fossil fuels.”

The RFI seeks advice, information and analysis from leading experts in the fields of investment, finance, legal, scientific and environmental policy. These insights will be used to develop the request for proposals for services to determine the best way to unwind the city’s investments in fossil fuels. The RFI seeks a way to protect the long-term interests of pension beneficiaries and determine the most effective way to safeguard the system from the economic and investment risks of climate change. Responses are due by June 1.

“We know that the future is with big ideas in clean energy, not with big polluters, and we believe that a green economy is a thriving economy. Today’s historic action reflects our commitment to growing our funds for pension fund beneficiaries and protecting our planet,” Stringer said. “Mayor de Blasio has been an incredible partner as we break new ground and forge a new path in this age of climate change. I thank him for his leadership, as well as the trustees for their partnership and focus on our fiduciary obligations to ensure a healthy retirement – and a healthy earth – for the hundreds of thousands of city workers and retirees we serve.”

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